Pastoral Ponderings (January 2019)


December was a joyful month. We celebrated the joy of Christ’s birth at Christmas Eve Communion. We have shared meals and enjoyed family gatherings. Most of us, if not all of us, received
a present or two. We had our fill of good food and cheer. December with its Christmas season is a special time of the year, but if I had my way, Christmas Eve would begin the Christmas season
and we would shop until January 5th. Presents and gifts would be shared on the twelfth day of Christmas, the day of the Epiphany when the Wise Men delivered their gifts. That is the time we celebrate the Wise Men bearing their gifts to Christ; but, alas, I know that is not going to happen in that order in my lifetime.

December was also a surprising month. The surprising part of December was 22 inches of snow in Galax. My Subaru could not even drive through it. For these parts, I hope 22 inches of snow
is an oddity and not the norm. If is the norm, I may have to look at a vehicle that needs a ladder to ascend into the cockpit. I have seen a few around town. Even though a very small pile of snow
sits in the churchyard from the “big one” a few weeks back, we now transition into the new year. Let’s hope that pile of snow is not waiting for more of its snowy friends to arrive.On a positive
note, the hours of daylight are beginning to slowly lengthen in January. Looking at the weather forecast, it looks good; but, as we know, that can change quickly in January. The last college
football game for the season is played next week. The NFL playoffs are played in January. College basketball teams begin playing their conference opponents, and by the end of the month,
we will know who the top contenders will probably be, come March Madness.

Church calendar-wise, January is the season of Epiphany. The day of Ephinay is always January 6 (twelve days after December 25). This year we celebrate Epiphany on Sunday, January 6.
Now, I debate whether I should still call it “Epiphany Sunday” as opposed to the day of the Epiphany. Epiphany celebrates the day when the star shone over the manger and pointed the way
to the Wise Men to come and pay homage to the newborn kind born in a manger.

Concerning Epiphany, which means “shines upon,” I myself love the image of a “light shining in the darkness” as Isaiah puts it (Isaiah 6). Think of the birth of Christ as a dawning whose brightness only grows as time marches on. Think of it in a personal sense as the light of Christ points out our flaws and leads us to turn from sin. Think of it in the social sense in that we can
create a better society, both today and for the future. Epiphany tells us that God has not forgotten us and left us in the darkness. There is a light!
Living the light of the revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ, we celebrate Baptism of the Lord Sunday on Sunday, January 13 during Sunday Worship. We will be given the chance to renew
our Baptismal vows in conjunction with the beginning of the new year. To help us celebrate the new year, we have a feast after Worship on Sunday, January 13. Come, bring a dish to share.
Dessert will be provided (I hope you like cookies!)

Pastor Mark McFadden